Friday, October 23, 2009

Excessive Celebration

I like college football. I love the collective energy, the excitement, and the team spirit that propels players and teams on to be better. Within the last few years there has been a crackdown on what is called "excessive celebration," meant to discourage players and teams from taunting in ways that incite violence or fights on or off the field. While I can appreciate that the rule is designed to encourage sportsmanship and has a purpose, I think it is too often applied inappropriately by the officials. How can a player not show excitement when they have just scored a late-in-the-game touchdown that puts their team ahead in a big game? Celebrating with your teammates in those moments should be part of the game, not something you get penalized for, yet too many times the flag is thrown for simple joy that has nothing to do with taunting anyone.

Recently, I watched an interview with an NFL administrator about this topic. He explained that in the pro league that they would never interfere or penalize someone for praising the Lord (by going to one knee as in prayer, or crossing themselves, raising their hands to heaven...and exhibiting other "accepted" religious behavior). So if I am understanding this can celebrate long as you are doing it in OUR can "taunt" as long as you do it in the name of God?! :)

The reason I am writing about this sports topic is that I think it is a metaphor for how we lead much of our lives, being discouraged from living in true joy and passion. We are taught the way to do everything - the way to worship, the way to be excited (but not too excited), the way to pray (in a stoic manner), the acceptable plan for life (2.5 kids, a stable job, a house in the burbs...or some similar formula that shows we are successful and stable). It does not take long until our lives are robotic...and we don't even REALIZE that they are robotic because it was hammered into us so early and for so long.

I think this is especially true in our spiritual lives. So many people have been so well trained in their approach to God and spirit that they have lost the magic and of the Universe that is there for our enchantment and joy. (Even the word "magic" is considered bad by some staid religions). I believe that when we are in a true and unencumbered connection with God, that our joy will be overwhelming...our celebration excessive and often difficult to contain. I have had those moments myself, and have even felt the stare or disapproval of those who would be "referees," so eager to penalize anyone who shows too much happiness in their spiritual connection, or who dares to want to share that openly with the world.

Find your moments of excessive celebration, even if in private. That feeling of joy and gratitude will fuel greater things in your life. The more you celebrate what is around you, the more you will see new things to celebrate, new avenues to grow, new opportunities to live out your make the world a better and happier place.

The warmup clock has ticked down...Now it is time to kick off your new joy and new life. Will you play or will you forfeit?


Marion said...

The World has appeared full of joy for me much so it sometimes brims over in a bubbling mess! I love it and at my age I rarely ever wonder anymore what people think of this happy person!

Again, another super post, manage to connect with me every time!

Sherri said...

Thank you, Marion. I have been on a bit of a hiatus but need to make it back to your blog - you inspire me!